The Minister of Public Works Department and Transport, Government of Rajasthan, Shri Yoonus Khan stated that Rajasthan has immense opportunities in the field of Agri Tourism. He said that it while the number and diversity of agri tourism businesses are growing in India, there is limited recognition of its development potential here in RajasthanShri Yoonus Khan was speaking at a Seminar on ‘The opportunities for agri tourism in Rajasthan’ on the concluding day of the 3 day Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet 2016 (GRAM 2016) being held in Sitapur-based, Jaipur Exhibition and Convention Center. The event is being jointly organized by the Government of Rajasthan and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

In his address, Additional Chief Secretary, Forest and Environment, Tourism, Art and Culture, Government of Rajasthan, Shri Nihal Chand Goyal said that Agro tourism means developing agricultural destination and attracting tourists by developing farm areas into vacation ventures and hosting farm based activities.” He further said that Rajasthan witnesses a footfall of 37 million tourists per year and that the State supports a good tourism infra structure which should be utilized for developing Agro tourism in the State.

In the panel discussion, Managing Director, Agri Tourism Development Company Pvt. Ltd. (ATDC), Shri Pandurang Taware said that the best part about Agro tourism business is that one does not have to spend much on creating infrastructure. Instead the foreign guests pays the farmer to have a look at the  farms and its functioning. He further highlighted that the guests gets to experience activities like milking a cow, visiting fields of various crops, visiting a jaggery-making unit, wineries, bathing near the well or a visit to a silkworm rearing farm. Adding to the fun is traditional food and a folk shows consisting musical evenings. Executive Director, Morarka Foundation, Shri Mukesh Gupta, said that Agri-tourism is a very profitable business as it doesn’t require any extra-ordinary investment. People living in cities and who spend lavishly on expensive hotels are the ones who actually opt for agri-tourism as they don’t get to see the village life. Farmers can make good money with agri-tourism said Mr. Gupta.

Director, Maharashtra State Agri and Rural Tourism Co-operative Federation Ltd (MART), Shri Sunil Mankikar, also said that there are many ways to encourage agri-tourism like yoga, vipaasna and pranayam tourism, wine tourism (like Nashik Maharashtra), medicinal tourism and children tourism. “Maharshtra is performing well in the sector of agri-tourism and we have proposed to offer the same set-up agri-tourism in Rajasthan also,” said Mr Mankikar.

Director, Uday Tours & Travel Pvt. Ltd Shri Rajiv Mehra, suggested that farmers and Government should attract foreign tourists who are farmers themselves. These foreign tourists will be interested in staying with our farmers and also to explore local farming techniques. He also suggested that Indian farmers should also go abroad and explore farming techniques used there to get an idea about the global agri practices and scopes. Government should help these farmers to go abroad by bearing some of the expense.

Sharing her experience, Director Culture Aangan Tourism Pvt. Ltd. Smt, Rashmi Savant said that her project aims to share village life and also generate a vital livelihood for people living in rural areas by offering them the opportunity to renovate their farmhouses with sustainable features such as working water wells, hygienic bathrooms and toilets and also learning new skills, including how to host their guests among others.

About ‘Global Rajasthan Agritech Meet 2016’ (GRAM):

The ‘GRAM’ was an international event organized from 9 to 11 November at the Jaipur Exhibition and Convention Center (JECC) at Sitapura in Jaipur. It was jointly organized by the Government of Rajasthan and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). The mega event was attended by around 50,000 farmers. The primary objective of GRAM was to ensure economic empowerment of the farmers through accelerated yet sustainable growth in agriculture. In addition to farmers, the global event also showcased global best practices and best of technologies suited to the agro-climatic conditions of Rajasthan. It was an important platform for investors, manufacturers, academicians and researchers. For further details please visit: http://gramrajasthan.in

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